CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white former South Carolina officer who grew up in New Jersey was sentenced to twenty years in jail on Thursday for fatally capturing an unarmed black motorist within the again in 2015, wrapping up a case that turned a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter motion.
Attorneys for ex-North Charleston Officer Michael Slager stated he shot 50-yr-previous Walter Scott in self-protection after the 2 fought and Scott reached for Slager’s stun gun. They stated race did not play any position within the capturing and that Slager by no means had any “racial animus” towards minorities.
Nonetheless, Slager pleaded responsible in federal courtroom to violating Scott’s civil rights. As a part of the plea settlement reached in Might, prosecutors dropped state homicide fees. A yr in the past, a state decide declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked.
“This can be a tragedy that should not have occurred,” U.S. District Decide David Norton stated.
Slager graduated from Lenape Excessive Faculty in Medford, in accordance with Ryan Johnson, spokesperson from the mayor’s workplace within the Metropolis of North Charleston.
Slager labored as a waiter in Voorhees after highschool earlier than serving six years within the U.S. Coast Guard in Florida, in response to his job software given to NJ Advance Media by the North Charleston Police Division.
A bystander recorded the capturing on a cellphone, and it was shared around the globe, setting off protests throughout the U.S. as demonstrators stated it was one other egregious instance of cops’ mistreating African-People.
Scott’s household testified earlier than the sentence and stated that they had forgiven Slager.
“I am not indignant at you, Michael. Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your loved ones, as a result of we have gone by means of a traumatic time,” he stated.
The capturing angered native African-People who complained for years that North Charleston police harassed blacks, pulling them over or questioning them unnecessarily as they cracked down on crime. The Scott household efficiently pleaded for calm, asking everybody to let the justice system run its course.
Two months after the capturing, a younger white man killed 9 black church members in a racially motivated attacked throughout a Bible research in Charleston. The relations of the church capturing victims struck an identical forgiveness tone after that assault.
Earlier than the sentenced was handed down, the decide needed to determine whether or not the capturing amounted to second-diploma homicide or manslaughter. Norton discovered that it was homicide.
The bystander’s video began after the wrestle between Slager and Scott and confirmed Scott operating away and the officer firing eight occasions. Scott was hit within the again 5 occasions.
After the capturing, Slager picked up his stun gun and positioned it subsequent to Scott. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. Prosecutors assume he put it there to bolster his self-protection story.
An emotional Slager informed the Scott household that he was grateful for his or her forgiveness.
Ex-cop from N.J. to plead responsible to violating rights…